DIPLOMATIC ECONOMY

EDCTP To Invest €44m In NGN Antimalarials

…To Combat Drug-resistant Malaria In Africa

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By Cyber Era Staff

The European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) awarded a new grant to the new PAMAfrica research consortium led by Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV). The consortium will support the development of new treatments for malaria in the most-at-risk populations, including babies, patients with severe malaria, and those with drug-resistant infections. The EDCTP grant of €21.9 million(US$24.48million) is to be matched by funding from MMV, Novartis and partners. Over a period of 5 years, the grant will support the development of a portfolio of projects executed under the umbrella of the PAMAfrica research consortium. Clinical trial capabilities in Africa will also be strengthened to ensure each site involved can effectively operate to ICH-GCP regulatory standards. The consortium includes seven research organizations from Burkina Faso, Gabon, Germany, Mozambique, Spain and Uganda. In addition to Novartis, other pharmaceutical company partners may join the consortium.

The PAMAfrica research consortium will conduct three clinical trials, supporting efforts to build clinical capacity and train scientists across Africa. One trial will explore new combinations of compounds, including new chemical classes, for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria in adults and children. These compounds are all known to be fully active against all drug-resistant strains, including the artemisinin-resistant Kelch13 strains. The second trial will evaluate a new generation, rapid-acting treatment for severe malaria, cipargamin, also known as KAE609, which is being developed by Novartis, supported by a grant from the Wellcome Trust. In the third study, a novel formulation/ratio from Novartis of the current gold standard treatment artemether-lumefantrine will be tested in newborn infants weighing less than 5 kg or who are malnourished.

Chief Scientific Officer of MMV and the coordinator of the PAMAfrica group, Dr. Timothy Wells said: “All three of these research projects address areas of urgent need in malaria treatment. Antimalarial drug resistance, originally seen in Southeast Asia, is being reported in Africa and may threaten current treatments. It is important to have new therapies that are active against this emerging threat of resistance. The work on newborn infants and in severe malaria is groundbreaking in bringing medicines to this neglected group. Thanks to this critical support from EDCTP we are not only able to bring together the necessary African and European expertise to conduct these projects to address unmet needs, but in doing so, we are also able to support the training and development of the next-generation of leaders in clinical malaria research in Africa.”

Executive Director of EDCTP, Dr. Michael Makanga said: “Malaria continues needlessly to take 405,000 lives a year and must remain a global and national priority in endemic countries. We hope our funding for PAMAfrica will contribute to the development of successful new treatments that will support malaria eradication, while supporting the development of African research capacity.”

Global Programme Head, Malaria, Novartis, Caroline Boulton said: “Despite advances in malaria control, we still have a long way to go. New antimalarials are urgently needed to tackle rising parasite resistance to current therapies. In response, Novartis has committed to advance research and development of a number of next-generation antimalarial treatments. Partnerships play a critical role in helping to bring these novel agents forward and we sincerely appreciate the crucial support of EDCTP to this process.”

The PAMAfrica consortium

Recent reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Lancet Commission on Malaria Eradication have made clear that defeating malaria will demand new tools, including new and better medicines. The 2019 WHO World Malaria Report states that global malaria deaths are declining at a slower rate than in recent years and highlights the need for improved interventions to treat the most vulnerable populations, including babies.

The PAMAfrica consortium was created to take up this challenge and implements a flexible portfolio approach to the development of new malarials. It brings together expertise from its various African and European partners. The consortium activities will be publicised under a dedicated logo.

The following organisations are partners in the PAMAfrica consortium:

Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL), Gabon

Dr Ghyslain Mombo-Ngoma, Head of Clinical Operations Department

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (CNRST) – Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé (IRSS) – Unité de Recherche Clinique de Nanoro (IRSS-URCN), Burkina Faso

Prof. Halidou Tinto, Regional Director

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (EKUT), Germany

Prof. Peter Kremsner Director Institute of Tropical Medicine

Manhiça Health Research Centre, Mozambique

Dr. Eusebio Macete, Director

Fundación Privada Instituto de Salud Global de Barcelona (ISGlobal), Spain

Dr. Quique Bassat, Head of the Malaria Programme

Groupe de Recherche Action en Santé (GRAS), Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Dr. Alfred Tiono, Clinician and Senior Scientist

Infectious Diseases Research Collaboration (IDRC), Tororo, Uganda

Dr. Yeka Adoke, Epidemiologist

Medicines for Malaria Venture, Geneva, Switzerland

Dr. Timothy Wells, Chief Scientific Officer

Novartis, Basel, Switzerland

Caroline Boulton, Global Programme Head , Malaria, Global Health Development Unit

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